"Steel isn't strong, boy... Flesssh is stronger."
In certain kinds of games, it is inexplicably easier to destroy something made of armored steel, like a tank, than to destroy an ostensibly flesh and blood character (often a boss of some sort), even without specialized weaponry. Compare Invulnerable Knuckles
, Made of Iron
. When applied to weapons rather than opponents, it is Guns Are Worthless
. You know this trope is active when the best way to defend a structure is for a character to stand in front of it and take the damage as a meat-shield. This can lead to comic relief when someone starts smashing and smashing but the person either feels no pain or feels tons of pain but no respite.
There may be a (tiny) grain of Truth in Television
here: living beings regenerate
, albeit slowly, but steel is incapable of regenerating all by itself.
Not to be confused with the philosophy in Conan the Barbarian
, which is more of a spin off of brains over brawns
, and the role of the individual's own power against any weapon which they could wield or be used against them. Usually a case of Gameplay and Story Segregation
. The Chunky Salsa Rule
is a reaction to this. Played straight with Mecha-Mooks
, but almost always averted with Mechanical Monsters
Non Gaming Examples:
- The Dragon Ball anime. A bullet to Goku's head makes him say "Ouch!", and an axe to the head gives him a headache - shattering the axe. He blocks rocket-propelled grenades with his arms, jumps through steel-lined floors head-first, destroys the Terminator with a ki blast, and dispatches wave after wave of tanks and helicopters like its nothing.
- Averted with super-suits and the mechanical androids, but those stop working as Goku gets stronger and the villains are forced to hire more muscle. In Dragon Ball Z, Dr. Gero finally learns from previous mistakes and actually starts making his death machines out of flesh instead of steel. By that point, Goku's flesh can literally withstand attacks that would blow up the planet.
- Superman. He can stop a bullet with his eye, and the bullet would break from the impact. For comparison, the Cyborg-Superman. He has Kryptonian powers and is a cyborg. You would think his metal bits would be an advantage, but they're actually weaker than his flesh.
- In Mobile Fighter G Gundam, Master Asia can effortlessly destroy giant robots with his bare hands. And his scarf.
- Blaster rifles in Star Wars aren't steel, but this trope comes up in Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor. Luke, held captive by stormtroopers, is not sufficiently quiet, so one keeps hitting him with a blaster rifle even when Luke politely tells him not to. Finally Luke catches the business end of the rifle and it shatters.
- Real Life: Bonesaws. Even though it stands to reason that a mechanical circular blade can easily tear flesh, it is designed to be unable to penetrate through tough tissue, yet it can saw through bones or plaster with ease. Don't let the Medic tell you otherwise.
- Of course, they are not circular saws. Bonesaws use a rapid back and forth movement small enough to not tear soft tissue, but which rapidly saws through hard materials like bone. In the same way a glass blade would shatter on impact with, say, a rock, while a steel blade would only get a dent.